The United States has long been viewed as the land of opportunity, attracting dreamers from around the world in pursuit of a better life.
Benard Kiprono, a Kenyan native, is one such dreamer who embarked on a remarkable journey from selling second-hand clothes in Kenya to becoming a U.S. citizen through the U.S. Air Force.
Here is his story as told by WOK.
The Journey Begins
Before his life-changing decision, Kiprono lived in Kapseret, Kenya, where he operated a business selling second-hand clothes, locally known as “mitumba.”
He frequented the markets in Kericho, Bomet, and Kapkatet, striving to make a living and provide for his family.
However, he yearned for more significant opportunities and the chance to offer his family a better future.
Two years ago, he made the life-altering choice to pursue these opportunities in the United States. His path to citizenship began when he decided to join the U.S. Air Force.
In pursuit of the American dream, Kiprono applied for a green card, though he was unsure about the outcome.
He had heard countless stories of individuals who had to apply multiple times before receiving their green cards. To improve his chances, Kiprono discussed the idea of his wife applying for the Diversity Visa (DV) program as well.
When the results were released, Kiprono received the news that he had won in the DV program.
This win meant that he, along with his wife and four children, would have the opportunity to relocate to the United States.
This remarkable win marked the beginning of his journey to the United States and his quest for a brighter future for his family.
The Long Road to the United States
Kiprono’s pursuit of the U.S. green card was filled with challenges, sacrifices, and a commitment to his dream.
He recalled an earlier attempt to visit the United States in 2017 when he received a letter purportedly from Central Michigan University.
The letter requested him to apply for a passport, but the required payment method raised concerns for Kiprono, making him skeptical of its authenticity. Seeking clarity, he reached out to the American Embassy, which confirmed that university emails should end with “edu.”
Undeterred by setbacks, Kiprono continued his quest for a green card when the DV23 season arrived. His meticulous preparations included formalizing his marriage, a crucial step in the immigration process.
In October 2021, he submitted his green card application, which would open the doors to a new life in the United States.
However, winning the DV lottery was just the first step; the financial obligations that came with processing the green card posed a significant challenge.
Kiprono had to secure funds to cover several expenses, including medical costs, embassy fees, Green Card production fees, and airfare to the United States.
These financial burdens led him to sell his plot for Ksh 1.5 million.
The journey was not without its trials, but Kiprono’s determination to overcome these challenges was evident throughout the process.
A New Beginning in the United States
After securing the green card, Kiprono’s journey to the United States was marked by significant expenses, including medical examinations and air travel for his family. The financial commitments were demanding, but his dedication never wavered.
Upon arrival in the United States, Kiprono wasted no time and immediately began his job search. He knew that the path to success required hard work and determination. In his pursuit of a brighter future, he made a life-changing decision to join the U.S. Air Force.
U.S. Air Force: A Path to Citizenship
Kiprono chose to join the U.S. Air Force as a means to secure a brighter future for his family. He realized that this was an opportunity to become a U.S. citizen and provide stability and opportunities for his loved ones. His journey within the military was marked by dedication and resilience.
He pursued a career in finance, eventually becoming a Finance Controller. His military journey included rigorous training and examinations.
In 7.5 weeks, he earned his place in the U.S. Air Force, signifying his eligibility for U.S. citizenship.
The benefits of a military job, such as a fast-tracked path to citizenship and family accommodation, presented a golden opportunity for Kiprono. The military also provided financial support, including allowances for housing on and off base.